READ MORE: Fact-check Friday: Does REMSA have the right to try to stop videotaping in public spaces?
At about 3:15 today there were reports of a pedestrian in the middle of Virginia Street in Midtown punching cars, yelling and throwing his shoes. He eventually ended up laying down, appearing to be passed out, on the sidewalk on the west side of Virginia Street.
Reno Police arrived and detained the individual, who was obviously resisting, shouting and swearing. Soon after, REMSA arrived.
I was behind glass, out of sight of Reno Police. A REMSA employee, however, saw me videotaping and asked me to stop.
“We can’t have anybody taking pictures of our scene,” he said.
When I refused, he said he would “have the officers talk with (me).”
He cited HIPAA, or the “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996,” as a reason. The full exchange is in the video below.
Timothy Broadway, with the Reno Police Department, said that there’s no policy that would prevent a citizen from videotaping in a public place.
“The First Amendment gives you that right,” he said. We’ve seen it increasingly since the Michael Brown situation, he added.
A request for comment has been sent to REMSA’s public relations agency.
UPDATE (May 8, 2015: 2:45 pm): Spokesperson for REMSA, Scott Walquist, said: “REMSA will always attempt to protect the privacy of our patients and serve as their advocate. However, we can only make a request to a bystander to refrain from taking photos or videos on public property to better protect the privacy of a patient.”